The opinion in Miklosy v. Regents of the University of California, issued July 31, 2008, was the California Supreme Court’s first major decision construing and applying the California Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA or Act). The Act prohibits retaliation against state employees—whether employed by state agencies, the California State University, or the University of California—who “report waste, fraud, abuse of authority, violation of law, or threat to public health.” In line with that prohibition, the Act authorizes an “action for damages” to redress any acts of retaliation. But in the case of retaliation against employees of the University of California, who now number more than 150,000, “any action for damages shall not be available . . . unless the injured party has first filed a complaint with the [designated] university officer . . . and the university has failed to reach a decision regarding that complaint within the time limits established for that purpose by the regents.” The Miklosy court held that the Act “means what it says, precluding a damages action when . . . the University of California has timely decided a retaliation complaint.
This article was originally published in the California Labor & Employment Law Review (Vol. 22, no.6, Nov. 2008), published by the State Bar of California.
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